Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk, who returned to work last week after a lengthy absence to seek treatment for depression, says she had suicidal thoughts in July and wanted to resign.
Hawk spoke with D Magazine, which published a story online over the weekend.
Hawk tells The Dallas Morning News she shared her story because she wants to help people.
Hawk tells D that she was treated at The Menninger Clinic in Houston, where she was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. While at the clinic, D reports that Hawk thought of ways to kill herself, including possibly using a blow dryer cord to hang herself.
Hawk told reporters Thursday morning that she was ready to be back at work.
“I’ve missed the courthouse, and I’ve missed my colleagues,” Hawk said in a brief statement. “These past nine weeks have been tough, but I am stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been.”
The Dallas County Democratic Party is calling on Hawk, a Republican, to resign. On Sunday, Carol Donovan, the county’s Democratic party chair, issued a statement, saying Hawk hasn’t been telling the truth about her whereabouts and that she “owes it to herself … to resign and to concentrate on getting well.”
The chair of the Dallas County Republican Party, Wade Emmert, told KERA it’s unfair to call for her resignation.
“Republicans and Democrats alike battle mental health issues,” Emmert said. “I think using this as a political opportunity diminishes the real courage it takes in somebody to come forward like this.”
Emmert says he believes Hawk will bounce back.
“Now that she has the tools to manage her situation, I expect her to be an incredibly productive and effective DA,” he said. “She’s still made some real and positive changes in the DA’s office.”
Emmert says on Twitter that Dallas Democrats are crossing the line and that political parties should be held to a “standard of decency.”
Hawk announced in late August she was taking four unpaid weeks off. That came after a three-week absence for what she called a “serious episode of depression.”
Her previously unexplained absence had generated questions about her job performance and the management of her office.
Hawk took office in January.